County finances “going downhill”, getting worse

ROCK ISLAND-Rock Island County Auditor April Palmer says the county continues to be in dire straits financially, the latest financial report for last quarter, worse.

"Going downhill, so to speak," said April Palmer.

When she delivered her report to to county board members at their Committee of the Whole meeting, she actually had tears in her eyes.

"It gets frustrating, that's what gets me so emotional," Palmer said.

But, property and homeowners in the county may want to cry, too.

Palmer says without any new source of revenue, property taxes will continue to shoulder even more of the burden.

"You're saying property taxes are going up, and will continue to go up? Yes," she answered, specifically citing one county fund where tax dollars nearly tripled, from 2.3 million dollars to 6 million dollars over the past two years.

The county borrowed 2 million dollars from the court's bond fund to be able to make payroll .

"There's no money in the bank. We live "paycheck to paycheck", just to get through the next payroll period. We do that in the general fund  and Hope Creek nursing home," said Palmer.

Palmer is an advocate of a sales tax referendum, and says without one, the county will continue to raise its portion of property taxes.

"We have to have more revenue. We don't want the burden to be just on the people who live here. We need to have a definite revenue source in this county to be able to provide the services that we are mandated to provide," she said.